My internet connection went dead three days ago. I felt as if all the color run from my life, as my world turned to black and white. I felt alone, stranded on a rocky, desolate island surrounded by violent crashing waves. My social media needs went un-fed, and I was feeling surly. I jest…I went to the only bookstore in town and bought a new book. It reminded me why I usually stick to authors I know – it was the worst piece of junk I’ve ever started to read. I tried to return it, but the shop was closed. I thought of propping it up against the door and sneaking away, but if an unsuspecting reader picked it up and tried to read it…they could be turned off to reading forever. Going back to the beach I found some friends involved in some birthday bonfire mayhem. I gave the stinker of a book to a local whose vinegar outlook on life I’ve come to dislike. He should have known better…the Aztec calendar warned of the coming of Cortez, the publication of this book, and the Great Internet Crash that is so common it needs no powers of prediction.
Before my internet went down I had seen a post from a blogger that claimed they had only been posting for a month, had received 11,984 hits, and had been followed by 1,218 other bloggers. What? The math is astounding…que milagro, as they say in a world of miracles. Why should I care about this? These kinds of posts always amuse and amaze me. It seems as though the greedy acquisition of view, likes, and follows is the end to some means, like spending days following, liking, and commenting once or twice on every post from every blog. There will probably be a new disorder named in honor of people like this. There will also be a pill developed soon to counteract this debilitating, unquenchable desire, I’m sure…if there isn’t one or a few already.
I am proud to announce I have 29 followers, 208 views, so few likes there should be a minus sign before the number, and not one award. I have clicked the “follow” button on a few of these afflicted addicts…past tense, since I’ve just as quickly un-followed them. Some of the best writing, most interesting bloggers, as well as the most inspired and inspiring posts I have come across have been from people with less than 100 followers, few likes, nearly no comments, and best of all…no sense that they’re a cyber-social failure. I guess they create posts because they like the process of creating quality posts more than the racket of insincere approval.
So, what can a person do when they have no internet connection? Buy a book. I did. This is not a book review…more a book warning. Do not touch the book Tenochtitlan: The Last Battle of the Aztecs by an author I won’t name out of common decency. It was a translation from Spanish to English, so I could forgive the non-lyrical prose, but it was still a misguided attempt at storytelling. There was too much information about the cultural clash between the native Aztecs and conquest-mad Spanish invaders for the novice, and too little unique insight to hold the attention of the initiated.
The only reason I read 75 pages or so into this mess was the wealth of amusing spelling and syntax errors committed by the translator. It might have helped if I had my machete to cut through this, and that might be a good sales ploy:
Free Machete with Every Copy !
I don’t know. I found something else to do quick.
The beach is never far away, and in a small town of less than 500 inhabitants, there’s always someone or a group of someones there I know who are up to no good, or…lighting a bonfire for an night-long birthday party. My good friends from Villareal – Francisco and Sylvia, his lively, lovely Cubana wife – were there with their collection of children and a few fellow revelers. It was Sylvia’s birthday, or so they claimed…as if an excuse was necessary. These people will light a fire and party all night to celebrate the sunset.
I tried to get a few photos. I am an amateur. There always seemed to be beer bottles blocking my view, not enough light, or both in this case. My wife – the real photographer – told me I could PhotoShop my failed photos, but I kind of liked them the way they came out. The dim glow of the fire provided just enough light for me to capture my wife, a professional bellydancer, showing Francisco a few moves, while at the same time protecting Francisco’s anonymity…even though his belly would suggest his attempts at belly-rolls and hip-drops should be captured and immortalized for the edification of all involved.
These are trying times, I know, but we who are still walking the walk are survivors. The internet connection is back, so I won’t take any literary chances and be seduced by books with catchy, colorful cover art, and I’ll just have to force myself away from the “like” and “follow” buttons long enough to go to the beach and find myself involved in LIFE. There will be updates on this experiment in living, since I’m sure ICE and RACSA, the Costa Rican communications providers, won’t be able to sustain such a dangerous level of internet access beyond sunset tomorrow.